Current students

Brennen O’Rourke

Education:  Georgetown University, B.S. in Neurobiology, 2013

Hometown:  Richmond, VA

Thesis adviser:  Pamela Knapp, Ph.D., Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology

Research interests:  My overarching interest lies in neurodegenerative disease and potential targets for functional neural rescue. As an undergraduate, this took the form of behavioral studies in rodent models of Parkinson’s disease in response to NAAG peptidase inhibitor treatment. As a graduate student, I currently investigate the combined effects of HIV and opioids in the brain to cause HAND (HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders).

Personal bio:  After college, unsure of what path to follow, I entered the CERT program here at VCU and signed up for the Cellular Neuroscience course. My professors introduced me to the MD/PhD program and that was that. Neuroscience is one of a number of my passions. Rowing is another. I rowed throughout high school, as a lightweight for Georgetown University, and currently row for fun and coach high school rowing for River City Crew in my spare time. I also enjoy climbing, biking, snuggling with my pup, and being outside.

Publications:  Olsewski RT, Janczura KJ, Bzdega T, Der EK, Venzor F, O’Rourke B, et al. (2017). NAAG peptidase inhibitors act via mGluR3: Animal models of memory, Alzheimer’s, and ethanol intoxication. Neurochemical Research, 1-12.

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